As an academic interested in feminist fitness and a yoga teacher, I anticipated the publication of Becky Thompson’s book for almost a year after meeting her at a conference. Survivors on the Yoga Mat: Stories for Those Healing from Trauma has become an indispensable asset for my work in fitness and academia. Both of us draw from our personal and professional lives, weave the words and experiences of others into our texts, and believe in the power of yoga (and, for me, fitness more generally) as a means toward recovery and transformation. For anyone interested in the healing power of yoga–personally or professionally–this book is a moving and rich resource.
The workshop flier said, “Yoga for Women”, and I thought, this workshop could go one of several ways:
· The teacher could be a tight-bodied Lululemon model in fuchsia lipstick and eyeliner, who played acid jazz and dubstep to our vinyasas. She could try to bend us into crazy positions and coach us to use our feminine Shakti to make ourselves hotter, more luscious beings (presumably in order to snag or keep some man);
· Or, she could be an “Earth Mother” with hairy legs and no sense of humor, who told us to do malasana over a mirror to look at our yonis, and who would coach us to breathe through our vaginas and smile at our uteruses.
Week Three Highlights
Then I remembered what Angela Jamison said about the practice: it’s always there. It’s there when you’re sick or sad or lonely, just like it’s there when you’re triumphant or jubilant. In that way, it’s kind of like a friend, like someone or something you commune with daily. I don’t know if it’s a comfort to you, but I suppose it’s a kind of touchstone, one thing in our lives that isn’t variable.